Jonathan Porter, 57, from Loughton, Essex, and Peter Stanley, 64, from Westminster, central London, were found guilty of money laundering after a ten-week trial at Southwark Crown Court.
Porter was the director of alcohol broker Europlus Trading Ltd and claimed to be supplying wholesalers in Calais. He claimed French customers paid him in Sterling and the money was collected by cash couriers, who were overseen by Stanley, and delivered to Europlus’ base in Greenwich, London.
However, the court heard that Porter and Stanley were actually collecting millions of pounds from cash and carry wholesalers around London. Between April 2014 and June 2015, £15 million cash was deposited into Europlus’ bank accounts. The money is believed to derive from the sale of non-duty paid alcohol.
Porter laundered £15 million, and Stanley delivered £7.5 million of that.
Terry Braithwaite, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“Money laundering is not a victimless crime. Laundered cash funds other serious crimes that bring harm and misery to communities.
“HMRC will investigate anyone suspected of being involved in money laundering and after conviction we’ll pursue the money they owe.
“We encourage anyone who wishes to report suspected fraud to HMRC to search ‘Report Fraud HMRC’ on GOV.UK and complete our online form.”
Couriers would collect money and deliver it to Europlus, where it was logged by Porter.
Stanley was arrested on 11 June 2015 with £41,500 on him outside Europlus. A search of the premises revealed £45,000 in a safe in the warehouse.
Porter was arrested on the same day and £3,380 cash was discovered in a bedside cabinet at his home and more than £18,000 at Stanley’s home.
The money seized is subject to a forfeiture application by HMRC. Non-UK duty paid alcohol was also seized from two of the London cash and carry wholesalers visited by the couriers and has been destroyed.
The men were found guilty of money laundering at Southwark Crown Court on 10 January 2022 and were sentenced at the same court today, 11 February 2022.
Porter was sentenced to seven years and Stanley was sentenced to five years and nine months. Porter was banned from being a company director for 10 years.
HMRC has launched confiscation proceedings to recoup the stolen money and is also seeking a Serious Crime Prevention Order against both men.